Have you ever walked into a corporate rental or a hotel room and can’t figure out how to turn the lights on? There is nothing more frustrating than needing to read a report for the big meeting the next day and there is no location in the corporate property with the right lighting to read by. At CHBO we work with a lot of property owners and it is essential that ever property have the right photos with the right lighting if they are going to attract the right renter. This week we thought sharing the ideas of a lighting and design professional would help you with your rental property. – Kimberly
Shine On: Designer Tips for Getting the Lighting Right
by Kerrie Kelly, ASID
Interior designers love lighting. It can be an inexpensive and efficient way to bring a little life to even the most drab spaces, but with a little planning and design, it can really take your space to the next level. Whether we’re working on a room remodel or simply trying to find just the right type of illumination for a small space, our primary consideration is how the fixture directs light and what the light will be used for.
I say it all the time to clients and contractors: a great lighting scheme is a layered affair. Clients are often surprised that we start the conversation about lighting schemes by talking about bulbs, rather than light fixtures. But to get a good mix of drama and function in a room, we need to start by thinking about the different qualities of light we can achieve. After you decide on the type of light you want, you need to consider where and how you want to focus that light – that’s what a fixture does.
Start at the Top
Overhead fixtures exist to provide general or ambient lighting that covers the room, but may be more about creating a feeling in a space than just about lighting it. Consider the difference between the kitchen and the dining room. Both rooms are all about food and eating, but your lighting needs are very different in the kitchen than in the dining room, right?
In the kitchen, where you’re working to get food ready, you may want a brighter, whiter source of general, ambient light than you need in the dining room. I’m much more likely to use recessed lighting as an overhead source in the kitchen, where I can use brighter compact fluorescent lamp bulbs or halogen spot lights for general lighting, and halogen pendants that shine directly over work areas for effective and task lighting.
As I move to the dining room, however, I’m much more likely to use a chandelier for a broad and diffuse source of lighting with warm, incandescent bulbs that flatter everyone at the table. Pendants can be beautiful fixtures over a sideboard, and offer a narrower and more specific spray of light that works as task lighting or dramatic accent lighting. Keep the mood warm and cozy with smaller table lamps that throw the light downward and provide the directional lighting you want for an accent, but in a much richer tone with an incandescent bulb.
Lighting is Layering
Take this same layering approach into the other rooms in the house. In the bathroom, your priority is going to be good light, so pendant lighting is a great fixture choice in terms of style. An indulgent chandelier on a dimmer can provide a similar effect that can also be muted when you just want to slide into the tub after a long day. Light-emitting diode or LED rope lighting under the cabinets will throw a muted tone of light toward the floor that gives your bathroom a relaxing spa feel.
These are the same kinds of choices you want to make in the bedroom. Recessed lighting overhead gives you the light you need to make sure your colors match before you leave for work in the morning, and dials down nicely for the night. Shaded lamps on the nightstand and dresser with incandescent bulbs allow you to read yourself to sleep and simultaneously create a much more intimate mood in your most intimate space.
Family Fun and Function
Family and living rooms require the most versatility in terms of lighting. They hold the greatest number of people and activities in the house, so you need function, but you also have the opportunity to display some personal style. Here again, recessed halogen or spot lighting works well for general or ambient light, but floor lamps offer the same functionality with warmer tones, and give you a chance to show off some style. Track lighting and shaded lamps on sofa and end tables create moody accent lighting and can highlight special, sentimental pieces in the room.
Because I realize you may not be able to make all your lighting wishes come true at the same time, I have one final piece of advice. The quickest way to get total control over your lighting scheme is to add dimmers. We recommend these for every room in the house. They allow you to transition from ambient to task to accent lighting with the slide of a switch!
Award-winning interior designer Kerrie Kelly writes on lighting designs for Home Depot. Kerrie provides advice on overhead lighting, including chandeliers and pendants. lighting and pendant lighting styles for apartment living. A collection of pendant lights available at Home Depot can be found on its website.